Despite some fleeting glimpses of CM Punk in training recently, we still don’t know quite what to expect from the former WWE superstar turned MMA fighter in his debut bout against Mickey Gall at UFC 203 on Saturday night.
One man who does though is CM Punk’s trainer Duke Roufus who’s been overseeing his development since he first announced that he’d signed for the UFC a couple of years ago.
“He can hit. He’s got a punch. He can crack,” Roufus said in an interview with MMA Mania. “But, every day he is getting better. Again, he just took down a good wrestler the other day. He’s submitting guys I’m surprised he’s submitting. So, he’s taking turns.”
As for his weaknesses, Roufus admits that for a while Punk struggled with getting hit, but then again, the veteran coach is quick to point out that is pretty standard for anyone just getting into the sport.
“Luckily we have a good system for reaction and we do a lot of drilling to get him used to having guys strike at him. Even Anthony had some commentary today saying, ‘Wow, Punk is doing way better.’ He’s been kind of going easy on Punk and Punk cracked him with a good one and Anthony started to get after him a little bit and Punk weathered the storm very nicely.”
Whatever happens on Saturday night, Roufus says that Punk has his full of admiration for how he’s handled himself throughout this whole process.
“A lot of my guys come from humble beginnings, but to see a guy who has a lot, work just as hard as the kid over here who has nothing, I just bow down and give him so much respect.”